What made me pursue a career in physical therapy…
When I was a college freshman and only 18 years old, I experienced severe pelvic pain that seemed to come out of nowhere. I went to gynecologists, the emergency room, countless specialists but no one could tell me what was wrong with me. My pain became chronic, and all of college I had difficulty sitting through my classes and being a functional human being. During those tumultuous four years, I turned to writing as an outlet and started my blog [email protected] based off my favorite Rumi poem:
“Birds make great sky-circles
of their freedom.
How do they learn it?
They fall, and falling,
they are given wings.”
-Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks)
My blog was one of the first that talked about taboo issues such as vaginal, pelvic pain or pain with sex. It grew in readership, and had close to 60,000 views. One night a woman sent me an email begging me to go see a women’s health physical therapist out in San Francisco instead of having a vulvectomy. I cancelled my surgery, booked my plane ticket, and flew out with my mother to see Elizabeth Rummer and Stephanie Prendergast. They were the first ones to give me a comprehensive evaluation and showed me the possible connection with hips, especially with my history as a college tennis player. I returned home with more answers, received two labral surgeries for each hip, and began several bouts of pelvic physical therapy, as well as countless injections by specialists. I went to both good and bad pelvic PTs and desperately wanted to have better access to someone close by.
I realized I needed to go back to school and become a pelvic physical therapist. I needed to become a stronger voice in the pelvic community for all these women and men who have been misdiagnosed and misheard. To this day, I am still mystified how many people show up in my clinic after years of searching, and have relatively easy “fixes.” The knowledge out there about pelvic health in the United States is still horrifically outdated. It might be better around major cities, but in the suburbs and rural areas I have traveled, it is very poor. I recently put on a Pelvic Health for Performance workshop at a weightlifting gym in Pennsylvania and so many women were incontinent. Some of them had symptoms for over 10 years and we just changed their breathwork and awareness of certain muscles and they were no longer leaking! Things like that push me to learn more about our field and become a better practitioner because we are indispensable.
Stay tuned for “Part II: My SPT Experience”
Tamra Wroblesky, PT, DPT, is co-owner and pelvic health physical therapist at Inner Dynamics Physical Therapy in Ocean City, NJ. She was the former SSIG president of the SoWH and is on the Name Change Task Force. Prior to moving her pelvic pain advocacy to the treatment room, she shared her recovery from pelvic pain on her blog, Sky Circles, and in Pelvic Pain Explained, a book about pelvic health physical therapy. In addition, her pelvic pain story has been featured on MTV’s mini-documentary show “Real Life.” [[email protected]]
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